What are collar stays?

Collar stays are flat pieces of plastic or metal that are inserted into the underside of a dress shirt’s collar. They are used to keep the collar straight and in place.

You may have noticed these little pieces of plastic in shirts you bought. It’s likely you threw them away without much thought. Some shirts come with collar stays included, some don’t. Dress shirts also occasionally have sewn-in collar stays.

Are collar stays really necessary?

No, as long as you don’t care about looking like shit. For grown men who care about their appearance, a crisp and straight collar is a must.

Would you rather look like…

This guy?

collar stay

Or this guy?

no collar stay

Notice the difference? The guy on the left looks sharp. The guy on the right looks like a slob.

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Types of collar stays

Plastic collar stays

These are the most common because they’re cheap. You will find plastic collar stays inserted into new shirts that you buy. These will work, but they’re flimsy and bend easily.

Stainless Steel Collar Stays

This is the most common type of metal used for collar stays. These inserts are a much better option than plastic, though they do come with a higher price tag. We recommend stainless steel collar stays since they’re guaranteed to get the job done.

Brass Collar Stays

Brass is functionally equivalent to stainless steel. The only difference is the look of brass vs. stainless steel. Brass collar stays offer a more classic look.

Magnetic Collar Stays

Using magnets is a newer trend that is gaining traction. For additional security, magnets are used on the underside of the collar to make sure it stays in place. This feels like overkill, but some men prefer magnetic collar stays.


A shirt stay keeps your shirt in place, a tie bar keeps your tie in place, and a collar stay keeps your collars in place. Collar stays are tiny accessories that make a huge impact on your appearance. Keep those collars crisp, men!

About The Author

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As Founder of Handbook of Man, Tommy Murata helps men of all ages and backgrounds reach their full potential. A self-proclaimed renaissance man, he enjoys golfing, skiing, DIY projects, and learning new skills. When he’s not playing outdoors, Tommy enjoys learning web design and playing music.

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